|The group held a rally outside of the Los Angeles City Hall on Monday afternoon to kick off the bus tour. With immigration reform stalled in the House, it is becoming increasingly clear Speaker John Boehner is succumbing to Tea Party pressure by refusing to bring reform up for a vote.
"We do have the votes for comprehensive immigration reform," said Rep. Judy Chu, (D-Pasadena, CA), at the rally. "We have 200 Democrats, we have 26 Republicans, and you need only 218 votes to get comprehensive immigration reform done - but what we need is for Speaker Boehner to put this bill on the floor."
The bus tour will be traveling for around six weeks, with two buses taking opposite routes covering the northern and southern borders. The tour will come to an end in Washington, D.C. in April, around Cesar Chavez Day. Members will still be Congress, shortly to return to their districts for recess break.
Along the southern tour, the group will be making stops on the following congressmen's districts in Texas:
-- Congressman Blake Farenthold (CD-27) in Corpus Christi on March 5th;
-- Congressman Pete Olson (CD-22) in Sugar Land on March 6th;
-- Congressman Randy Weber (CD-14) in Galveston on March 7th;
-- Congressmen John Carter (CD-32) and Bill Flores (CD-17) in Temple and Waco on March 10th;
-- Congressmen Joe Barton (CD-6) and Sam Johnson (CD-3) in Arlington and Plano on March 11th.
These districts are key in part because of the leverage the Congressmen have in pushing forward immigration reform efforts. Recently, Congressman John Carter said he thought Republican elections were more important than passing immigration reform, despite earlier being in the group arranging the formation of such House bill. In the past, the majority of voters in Congressional Districts 22 and 27 have shown wanting Farenthold and Olson to support immigration reform, with neither of them budging.
Immigration reform activists and supporters are looking at the November elections to make their voices be known once again.
"Immigrant families across this country are suffering separation because we have a cruel and very effective enforcement machine that churns out millions of deportees," said Angelica Salas, executive director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights Los Angeles. "The existing immigration system is all enforcement and no humanity."
"Whether here on the streets, or on the bus, or in November at the polls, we will win justice."